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St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,555 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,555
Reviews: 2,516
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 450
Gots: 1,173 | FT: 35
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,555 | Reviews: 2,516 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE - Opaque dark brown ale with a 2-finger light brown head that dissipates after awhile. Lacing is more a foamy film.

SMELL/AROMA/SCENT - Smoky, piney, sweet, a little citrus.

TASTE - Stout-like, smooth, not that smoky, herbaceous. ABV hidden by strong flavor.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Smooth, a bit of a creamy head. A little carbonation.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - I prefer the lighter quads over this, but it's a good drink nonetheless. Definitely quaffable.

Homers_Beer_Odyssey, Aug 13, 2014
Photo of FFreak
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into large tulip glass. A slightly hazy dark brown with 1 inch off-white head. Aroma of dried fruit, brown sugar, vanilla, spice. Taste follows with dried fruit, caramel, and some sparkling white wine-type of flavors. Nice light body for the ABV and perfectly carbonated. An awesome quad!

FFreak, Monday at 09:12 PM
Photo of Macko
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark with ruby highlights. Creamy head with good lacing which lasted well.

Smell: Fruits, but somehow apples dominates for me.

Taste: Sweet to start. The more I drank, the more I thought of bananas.
Syrupy with hint of cherries. Working to a more caramel finish which can even be a little tart.
No hint of the strong alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Creamy but with good carbonation throughout. Takes a little while to feel a pleasant mild burning in the throat.

Overall: Compared to the Westy 12, it has a little more life to it. Sometimes I like to drink this with a few cherries and/or taste of brown chocolate between sips. When I look at the smiling monk on the bottle waving his finger at me, I'm generally smiling back at him.

A joy to drink. Reminds me how good it is to be alive.

Macko, Apr 10, 2014
Photo of 312HopBomb
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights into a Duvel tulip. Smallish head fades to a ring with spotty lacing.

Smell consists of dark fruit and sweet with some booze.

Taste of sweet dark fruit, rum raisin, fig and toffee. Dark cinnamon bread and ginger snap cookie. Nice warming alcohol and Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel is thick and full.

Very nice Belgian double times two. Glad to have tried this one.

312HopBomb, May 16, 2013
Photo of mick303
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an excellent fluffy head which shows strong retention. Colour is medium-dark deep red brown. Highly effervescent, and it shows really solid lacing.

The aroma is characteristically fully of dark cherries, and a rich yet subtle sweetness. Some dark toffee and fudge notes, caramel malt. A bit of a plumy character and a gentle caramel maltiness.

Flavour is impecable, it starts with a very full malty sweetness. Shows layers of complexity with plenty of dark fruit flavour. It is lively and very rich at the same time, with remarkable balance. Then a lot dryer toward the end, slightly acidic. This flavour of dry cherries, and aged red wine vinegar lingers on.

Mouthfeel is very big and full. It has a smooth and creamy feel, accentuated with the carbonation. Very rich, but not overly heavy. Alcohol is noticeable but blends in very well. This is very drinkable and a treat on the palate.

A very excellent quad to be sure. Not over sweet, with a very good complexity and highly interesting and pleasing to drink. Should be sought out and tried.

mick303, Sep 30, 2012
Photo of mjtiernan
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet. Best by 9/27/16.

A: Bottle was a bit of a gusher. One finger pillowy off-white head w/some sediment floating on top. Body is a gorgeous deep ruby red. There was quite a bit of sediment despite the fact that I left a solid 1/4” at the bottom of the bottle. Head was fully lasting and lacing excellent.

S: Bready yeast and dark fruits. Mostly plum, currant and raisin with a little grape and a hint of cherry. Some nice toasted caramel malt.

T: Huge flavor and complexity. Wonderful balance. Starts sweet with earthy yeast and fruit. Lovely breadiness and clove. Some of the caramel malt comes through. Tons of figs, raisins, plums, and the like. Finishes more acidic than the start with a little fusel alcohol.

M: Fizzy carbonation. Medium body. Finishes chalky with a moderate dose of warming alcohol burn. Drinkability is surprisingly high for such a big complex beer.

O: One of the finest quads in existence. Easy to drink but that’s not really the point with a beer like this. Love it.

mjtiernan, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of SpruceMoose
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

When it comes to Belgian beers, most of us see it as, mainly, a dichotomy between Trappist beers and Abbey beers. We love our Chimay and La Trappe, but also our Leffe. However, one of the more legendary examples of Abbey brewing brilliance, the St. Bernardus Abt 12, adds heavy weight to the argument between the two produces of beer as to who should be revered as the greatest producer of quality Belgian beer. Who would've thought that beer could be so divided by religion?

Serving Type: 330 ml bottle, along with its characteristic smiling bishop, poured slowly into a Grimbergen goblet.

Appearance: The slow pour produces a thick head, neither white nor cream, which retains itself with remarkable precision. Beneath it the body sports a deep copper or ruby red colour. Bubbles can be seen quickly rising beneath the head that cling to the glass and add to this beer's remarkable appeal.

Smell: Aromas of fruit, honey, toffee, caramel, nuttiness, chocolate and darker malts enchant the senses. Bewdeful.

Taste: Toffee and bittering hops are immediately noticeable, followed by an even sweeter malt finish. The head is delightfully creamy and an absolute pleasure to sip through. The alcohol is not well masked with a booziness noticeable after the swallow, although the 10% ABV strength enables me to forgive Brouwerij St. Bernardus for this very minor flaw.

Mouthfeel: Bold and dense; everything you'd expect from a Belgian abbey ale. The soft, marshmallow texture of the head contrasts beautifully to the thickness of the body. Carbonation is consistent and not overwhelming.

Overall: An absolute treat for quadruppel aficionados or even those who are mildly interested in delving deeper into the Belgian beer scene. St. Bernardus serves as a brilliant winter warmer on those cold nights with its robust taste and glowing warmth. I would actively seek this out again, for having just one of these would be akin to the highest of sins and would probably result in me being tried in front of some Benedictine court for my gross blasphemy. Oh well - at least they'd have good beer for me there.

SpruceMoose, May 19, 2013
Photo of ElGordo
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been keeping this in the back of my fridge for a special occasion, and I figured finishing my master's thesis is just the time. I remember when I first tasted this beer I thought it was maybe the best I'd ever had, and I'm not disappointed this time.
Popping the cap from the 11oz bottle releases a flutter of banana-y Belgian yeast aroma. Poured into my Duvel tulip, the beer has a sizeable, one-inch tan head that sticks around for a while. Body is a slightly cloudy, deep mahogany color. Nose is dominated by sweet malt and alcohol, with notes of brown sugar, yeast, and a hint of stone fruit. Palate is very nice - sweet malt is dominant, with notes of clove, allspice, and a very subtle hoppiness. The finish is dominated by warmth from the alcohol, but tempered by a lingering sweetness from the malt. Rich, creamy, warm mouthfeel is as close to perfection as you can get. This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink, even if it takes over an hour to get to the bottom of the glass.

ElGordo, May 06, 2005
Photo of bashiba
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a creamy brown with tons of thick pillowy head that seem to hang around forever.

Smell was slightly sweet with dark fruit smells like raisons and dates mixing with some roasted malt odor.

Taste is very nice, semi sweet fruit flavors mixing with a slight roasted nuttiness and you can taste just a bit of the alcohol. Very Nice!

Mouthfeel is creamy, full, and very warming, perfect!

A fantastic beer, I will enjoy many more of these in years to come.

bashiba, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of BigIrishman
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter

Appearance: Dark amber with plenty of head, a good 3 fingers that stays. Leaves little lace as its drank.

Smell: Raisins and plums with a nice touch of hops in the background, very pleasant smell.

Taste: More raisins with a bit of hops. Has a smokey quality to it.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel but very smooth.

Drinkability: Very high drinkability for a quad, not gonna be able to pound down 3 of these but easy to drink a glass or two.

Notes: One of the best quads I have ever had and sets the bar for readily available belgians. If you've never tried it, you're missing out big time

BigIrishman, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of SpencerSauce
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Me and a friend bought a 750ml of this sweet, dark, strong beer, to review for beeradvocate and youtube. My buddy really wanted to pop the cork, so he argued " I called it". HAHA grow up tom.

Well when my buddy did pop it i was glad he did. He got sticky fingers and hands. Though we were ooutdoors so it didnt make any difference. Except maybe losing a large mouthfull (which arent usually taken with this beer).

A- Very large head, should have poured it slower, my friend saw mine and made his pour extremely slow almost getting no head. Which is strange for a beer like this. In all i would say my pour was better. Darkish red beer and very bubbly. Beige head that will not quit.

I left the foam lacing after drinking this in the glass and forgot about the glass in the pool fridge area. A week or two later, the foam was still there dried in the exact position it was


S- very sweet and fruity. Caramel notes maybe because of the amazing sugariness probably giving it its high abv. But very fruity.'

T- sweetness accompanied by figs and other dark fruits. Slight belgian yeast taste but is masked mostly by sweet fruits.

M- Very thick and sweet. Coats the mouth well and leaves a lingering delicious taste.

D- easy drinking but dont chug it or ill find you

bernie is the man

SpencerSauce, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of JohnL9013
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: Oh man, what have I gotten myself into here? Dark hazy brown with a huge head, tons of lacing. Very impressive appearance.

S: Strong smell with malty and caramel elements...my roommate complimented me from across the table and said, "I can smell that from here."

T: This is a BIG beer and yet still very refined, with a complexity and fine balance only the Belgians have! This beer does have a strong bias towards malt (expected) and has a high alcohol content, but there are plenty of other fantastic subtle flavors and my gosh, this beer is just soooo smooth and pleasant. Frankly, you're not going to get any better in this pricerange. It's hard to describe what's going on because as with all good Belgian beers, every sip tastes different. Just a note, if you get any "booziness" at all, you are drinking an example that is too young. Usually with this beer I let them sit on the shelf 6 months or a year or so before drinking just to be safe.

M: Medium-high carbonation (lower than typical Belgians), high alcohol, but still very smooth on the palate. I was very surprised at this particular aspect of the beer.

D: Very drinkable stuff in terms of how easily it goes down, but be prepared to take a break afterwards due to the high ABV.

Exceptional brew from (at the time of this review, my opinion), an underrated brewery. If you like Belgian beer, you are in for a treat.

JohnL9013, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of pbrian
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge head that settles down to a protective pillow over your beer. Malt and dark fruit aromas. Oh so smooth, creamy and full bodied. Hits your mouth spritzy but then slides down your throat in a flash, leaving you with a warm alcohol buzz and a mouth-coating sweetness. Flavors detected are raisons, rum, spicey yeast. The overall profile leaves no doubt about the use of candy sugars. When I came back to the last sip an hour later, the fusel alcohol came out my nose. Great beer to savor, although I thought the sticky sweetness kept it from reaching the stars.

pbrian, Apr 03, 2002
Photo of theghost3
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, almost brown with plenty of carbonated bubbles and some floating sediment. The head is 3-fingers thick, frothy & tan. Lots of lacing.

It smells spicy with yeast, dark fruits and sweet malt. Taste is complex; first there's spicy cloves & phenols. Then there's sweet malts, bread & lastly, a fruit & wood flavor. Mouthfeel is carbonated but leaves smooth.

This is the best Quad I've ever had. Deliciously drinkable, which makes that ABV a little dangerous.

theghost3, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of Andynator
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 11.2 oz brown bottle poured fridge cold into a snifter. Pours a thick golden brown, almost sedimentary yet is virtually opaque in the glass. Head is thick and off white, and the lace seems to last a very long time despite its 10% ABV. So far so good.

Smell: Sweet maltiness with hints of molasses and dried fruits like figs or raisins. Smells quite rich and caloric.

Taste: Malty at first with a slight warmth of alcohol and a splash of a hoppy finish. Sugary fruits throughout. Aftertaste is similar to heavy whole grain bread. Very complex, every sip reveals a different flavor, well balanced. Seems to mellow as it warms. Definitely a sipper at 10% so warming is part of the experience.

Mouthfeel: A lovely creaminess balanced with alcohol bite.

An excellent quad overall. Easy to drink and easy to find and that's a good thing. Highly recommended.

Andynator, Jun 05, 2014
Photo of swihart
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm with Todd and BlackHaddock. St Bernardus on tap is just amazing, even to an old homebrewer/beer-lover who prefers to have quite a bit more hops in most of her beer. And Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia is to be commended repeatedly for its efforts to serve exceptional beer and great food.

swihart, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours into a tulip as a nearly opaque orange/brown with a huge tan head that shrinks to a centimeter-thick cap. Tons of visible carbonation.

The nose is sweet with hints of green apples and a hint of dusty yeast.

The taste is immediately very thick and malty with intense apple and banana flavors as well as a brief alcoholic warming. Sweet hard candies and a sharp tartness are in there as well. Silky-smooth mouthfeel and intense but fine carbonation give an amazing tactile dimension to this brew. Fantastic drinkability.

MrHassellYaHurd, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of DrDemento456
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got a bottle at Halftime beverage.com for around 6 bucks (12oz)

A - A very dark looks Quad, very hazy with only some light making it through. A sample pour (my brothers) produced a massive 3 inches of head. My pour was only a half an inch which has some very sticky lacing. Cool.

S - My god no Alcohol smell and a great medially of plum, raisin,figs, and Belgium sugars. Smells great even after it warms.

T - All the flavors pretty much mesh perfectly to deliver a punch of dark fruits. Brewed so well this beer has no alcohol flavors to speak of and a semi sweet finish with sugars. Lovely.

M - If this doesn't get a perfect mouth feel I don't know what can. Clean, refreshing, and no noticeable ABV. I would be so happy in Belgium pounding these for around domestic price.

DrDemento456, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of IBUnit63
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like a loaf of hearty whole-grain or pumpernickel from a 750 into an Ommegang goblet - head has a meringue-like consistency. Nice, light/moderate carbonation. Essence of pine, nutmeg and sweeter spice flavors with moderate hop presence. This tastes like a quintessential Belgian. Deep, soulful yeast/malt presence with well-balanced sweetness, hop and alcohol presence. As time passes it provides the warming feeling of Thanksgiving dinner with even a hint of sweet potatoes and roasted carrots (I know, now I'm really full of $#!+ - maybe it's the power of suggestion). The carbonation is moderate, inoffensive and pleasant. This is all-encompassing, powerful wonderful stuff. Coats the mouth like a warm, almost-savory dessert and has the warming power of spiked hot chocolate in a ski lodge. For all its power it drinks very easily. Splendid effort.

IBUnit63, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of adam42381
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle (dated 26 05 14) into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with reddish tint. Has a 1-2 finger off-white foamy head which dissipates fairly quickly. Decent amount of sediment floating around. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Strong smell of raisins and dried fruit. Very sweet malty aroma. Smells absolutely delicious.

Taste: Complex flavor which combines the sweetness of dried fruit and roasted malt with a nice bit of spice. Strong alcohol flavor is apparent throughout. Very nice warming finish with just a hint of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a high amount of carbonation and a distinct alcohol bite.

Drinkability: Excellent drinkability; however, you don't want to drink too many because the high ABV will catch up to you.

Overall: An excellent beer all around. For the price of $4.49 a bottle, I'll definitely be buying more. I would highly recommend seeking this one out. This is just a great beer.

adam42381, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of themind
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent Quad! Belgium's finest! I have had Trappist's and Abbey beers and this one does not let you down.

Pours a nice head, great aroma and an excellent taste. Carbonation presents a good mouth feel and the 10% is hidden VERY well.

Easily a top Belgium beer!

Bottom line: If your a beer snob....this is a must have!

themind, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

appearance; cloudy red-brown with a tan head. Very slow dissipation, tight and sparce lacing.

smell; spicy fermenting cherries in a vat. Alcohol and yeast on the back end of the aroma.

taste; raisins and rum, dried dark fruits and light clover honey all add a sweetness that is kept in check by a bitter finish that is kept gentle by slick yeasty flavors that hold everything together in an amazing balance.

mouthfeel; rich and heavy, very tight and active carbonation, easy finish with a bit of burn.

drinkability; the alcohol lets itself be known and compromises drinkability a bit.

Sachsenfreude, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of rayjay
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BB 22 03 11

Pours brown with reddish-purple highlights. The head is stained red like a Kriek beer.

The nose reminds me of Smarties candies.

How do they cram all that flavor into a beer and still have it come off so subtle? Unbelievable. There are malts galore, bringing along visions of figs, plums, persimmons, cherry candy, there's that ultra-fresh dopplebock vibe, and a porter-like fallout. All flavors melt together perfectly.

The mouthfeel is very refreshing and soft as water. No chalkiness or tongue-coating here. Subtle carbonation. Drinkability is dangerously high; gentle heat is the only hint of alcohol (my previous beer was 7% and felt hotter!) This is a genuine piece of fine art. If you're bummed that you can't get (or afford) Westvleteren 12, look no further.


rayjay, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of ChestSplitter
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a widemouth glass.
A: A wonderful brown/orange with nice head.

S: The most striking thing about this beer. Bananas! I love taking huge whiffs of this brew.

T: Excellent Belgian quad. All the fruity goodness you'd expect from the smell.

M: Alcohol is well-hidden. Plenty carbonated.

O: This is the second-best quad I've had, and quads are my favorite style. Rochefort 10 is better than this, but not by leaps and bounds. St. Bernardus makes great beers; they are dong Trappiste beer better than most of the Trappiste brewerys right now, and this is their top-of-the-line to me.

ChestSplitter, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of cambabeer
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgium knows their beers. Was in Brussels just a while back and stuck mostly to drinking trappist ales, but had to try this world famous abbey ale. And what a treat. Just a stunning beer. Deep brown color and a head you could eat with a spoon. Lace sticks on the glass to the last sip. Smell is sweet and malty, thats dominant. Spices like cinnamon and clove are in there. Tastes christmasy, which is hard to describe. The spices from the smell are definitely still there. Huge sweetness. It's like caramel or some kind of malty molasses. Toasty and bread, with just the slightest bitterness toward the end. Also, I have to mention the huge alcohol taste. It's not the first thing that hits you (That's the sweetness of the malt) but it is obvious. Goes down smooth with subtle carbonation and huge creaminess. Somehow, this high alcohol beer is very drinkable, I'd have another. This is not overrated, get some.

cambabeer, Aug 05, 2012
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,555 ratings.